In October 1998, the City of New Bedford received $200,000 from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Targeted Cities Initiative for junior high after-school activities. The City subsequently issued an “RFP” (Request for Proposals), funding 11 programs in the spring of ’99. In June 1999, New Bedford was awarded $200,000 in Targeted Cities funds; the City added $250,000 to support more than 40 activities. In 2000-01, City/State contributions exceeded $400,000. During FY02, when State funding ended, the City’s $265,000 maintained the initiative. The City funded $200,000 in FY03 and FY04; $250,000 in FY05. Since FY06, the City has provided approximately $180,000 in funding.
Through an RFP process, the department subcontracts with 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organizations and cultural/educational institutions to implement out-of-school-time programs for students in Grades 4 through Middle School. Priorities include:
- Arts Bridging Cultures “ABC” art/dance/drama/journalism/music/photography/theater/video)
- Diversity Appreciation & Understanding/”No Place for Hate”
- Integrated Activities for Youth with Special Needs
Positive Youth Development. Funded programs must offer activities that are innovative, high quality, and reflective of positive youth development. This approach sets high standards for all youth in education, socialization and citizenship — and helps young people achieve them. Programs must produce measurable positive outcomes, including acquisition of competency skills. Essential to positive youth development is the inclusion of young people in planning and decision-making. Parents, neighborhood organizations, faith communities, and the widest possible diversity of community groups/informal systems participate in planning/implementing youth services, including the process of developing formal objectives of your program. Positive youth development encourages programs that:
- Involve collaborations (are multi-agency)
- Include families and youth
- Involve young people in program planning and monitoring
- Include youth and adult partnerships
- Promote youth competencies
Each year, the Invest-in-Kids Program is evaluated by Brandeis University to ensure high standards of program design and best practices are maintained. Current programs are listed on the “Invest-in-Kids” link.